How to Become a Personal Trainer in 7 Simple Steps

November 19, 2020


Are you passionate about fitness? Do you want to make a positive impact on your community? Are you driven to become your own boss? If you found yourself nodding yes to any of these questions then you’re in the right place. In this article, we go in-depth to give you everything you need to know on how to become a personal trainer in 7 simple steps.

We’ve got all your questions covered from what the best personal training certification is, to what sort of insurance you’ll need, and how to start finding clients for your personal training business!

Looking to hire a personal trainer instead? Simply submit a free request to find top personal trainers in your area!


1. Get Inspired


Get Inspired

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If you have a passion for healthy living and fitness then personal training could be a perfect career option for you. Day to day, working as a personal trainer means interacting with clients, evaluating their health and fitness goals and then helping them achieve those goals through motivational fitness coaching sessions.

Personal training isn’t just about coaching sessions though. While these are an important part of the daily activities of a personal trainer, this career path can also involve creating meal plans and educating clients on healthy living practices.

The exact tasks you’ll be working on as a personal trainer will vary from client to client based on their short and long-term goals. This means that every day will be different and offer you the chance to impact others’ lives for the better. How cool is that?! 

So fuel up your inspiration and get set to discover everything you need to know about how to become a personal trainer!


2. Certifications

Once you’ve found your inner drive and you’re all set to head out there and learn how to become a personal trainer, it’s time to get your personal training certifications in order. Right from the top, you’re going to want to find the best personal training certification.


How Do You Find The Best Personal Training Certification?


Register of Exercise Professionals

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What does finding the best personal training certification mean? Well for starters it doesn’t mean searching for the most expensive course you can find. In this case, a costly course doesn’t always equate to quality. To find the best personal training certification the main thing you really need to watch for is whether the course provider is an accredited institution.

Start by looking for courses backed by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REP). These are considered to be high-quality personal training courses. These courses meet specific requirements set by the REP to ensure that the lessons are of top quality. This helps to ensure that new personal trainers are learning material that will maintain a high standard of professionalism in the fitness industry. This, in turn, means you’re learning the right knowledge to become the best personal trainer you can be.


Where Can I Find Personal Training Course Providers?

There are a wide variety of different companies that offer personal training courses. To ensure you find an accredited solution, the REP and NRPT are both great places to find a selection of top courses. 

Some popular personal training schools are listed below:

There are several other excellent accredited schools in addition to these as well which can be viewed here.


What Are The Different Levels of Personal Training Certificates?

There are two levels to the personal training certification program in the UK that you’ll need to follow through when you are learning how to become a personal trainer. The specifics of these are outlined in detail below.


Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification

Getting your Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification or Certification, is the first step to becoming a personal trainer. This course is also known as a Level 2 Fitness Instructor Qualification. It is taught at the same level as a GCSE and can be taken either as a part-time or full-time course.

If you choose to take a part-time course it will take approximately 6 weeks to complete. However, if you opt for the full-time option you can receive your certification in just 8 days. Costs for Level 2 Gym Instructor courses can vary but generally fall in the range of £500-£700. Keep in mind that this will vary depending on the institution you choose to train with.

Once you have obtained this certification you can then move on to the Level 3 Certificate which will qualify you to train clients.


Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification


Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification

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Generally, the Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification is viewed as a pre-requisite to the Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification. However, this has been changing in recent years, and depending on the course provider you may be able to enter directly into the Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification learning stream. If you’d like to jump straight into a Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification program make sure to check whether your chosen course provider offers this option.

Obtaining the Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification will enable you to begin training clients as a self-employed professional. It is the same as an A level or BTEC National Diploma. Level 3 courses, like Level 2 courses can be taken either part-time or full-time. Part-time courses may take 5 months to complete, while the full-time courses will take around 3 or more weeks. Costs for Level 3 certification generally range between £1500-£2000. Keep in mind, as with Level 2 Personal Trainer Qualification courses, this cost can vary between institutions.

If you see a full-time Level 3 course that is shorter than 2 weeks, the National Register of Personal Trainers advises caution. These courses may not provide you will the full Level 3 certification. To be certain you are taking the course you need, be sure to check with your course provider and look into whether the institution itself is accredited.


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Can I Take Personal Training Certificates Completely Online?


Can I Take My Personal Training Certificates Completely Online

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The majority of accredited personal training providers offer the option to take their courses through a combination of online learning and in-person practical training. If you are a motivated learner who prefers to study in their own space then a course such as this may work for you. Keep in mind though, that most courses do have an in-person component.

If you wish to join the REP as a member, later on you must choose a course that has some in-person training. This may take the form of a single-day workshop or practical work experience with the supervision of your course trainer.

To keep your options open, and ensure you receive the best level of education, it is best to look for a course that does have practical in-person training. This will ensure you have the practical skills you need to succeed in your career as a personal trainer.


Will I Need a First Aid Certificate as a Personal Trainer?

Along with your Level 3 Personal Training Qualification a First Aid and CPR certificate is another must-have. Not only is this useful in the case of an emergency situation but it also a requirement listed by the National Career Services for personal trainers.

While some courses may offer a First Aid and CPR certificate as part of the training, this isn’t necessarily the case with every personal training course provider. If your course provider doesn’t include a First Aid and CPR certification within the course, you will need to obtain this seperately.


3. Get Insurance

Before you begin seeing clients it is essential that you obtain public liability insurance. Insurance is a key way to protect both you and your clients in the off-chance that an injury occurs. Obtaining the proper insurance is also required if you wish to join the REP or NRPT (for more info about these organisations check the next section).


What is Public Liability Insurance For Personal Trainers?

Public liability insurance provides you coverage in the case a claim is made against you either for accidental property loss or, damage or accidental death or injury which occurred because of training or fitness advice that you provided.

Obtaining insurance shows you are committed to conducting professional training sessions for your clients, while also protecting both of you and your clients.


What is Public Liability Insurance For Personal Trainers?

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If you offer additional services like sports massage therapy, boxing, or physiotherapy then you will need to go one step further and seek out extra coverage for these as well.


Where Can I Get Insurance?

There are several different avenues to pursue when looking for personal training insurance. If you choose to join a register of personal trainers such as those outlined below, then you can purchase insurance through them.

For an approximate idea of how much personal training insurance costs, the REP and NRPT both conveniently list their prices. Through the REP insurance prices range between £56-£97 and through the NRPT they range between £98-£160. The costs vary depending on whether you are simply purchasing public liability insurance or insurance that also covers any additional services like sports massage therapy. 

No matter who you choose to source your personal training insurance from in the end, be sure to consult the full policy to determine whether it will cover all of the health and fitness services you provide.


4. Join the REP or NRPT, or both!

After you’ve received your certifications and sorted out your public liability insurance your next step is to join an organisation that regulates qualified UK personal trainers. These organisations hold their members up to a high standard of excellence, which ensures that all of their members have achieved the right qualifications. This works to create a strong foundation of trust in the merits of personal trainers.

In terms of planning your personal training career, it lends trust to you as an individual personal trainer as well. Clients who see that you have joined an organisation like this will rest easy knowing that you are a professional who takes training and qualifications seriously. 

In the UK, two of the main organisations which regulate personal trainers are the Register of Exercise Professionals and the National Register of Personal Trainers. Check out the two sections below to find out more in-depth information on each of these top organisations.


Register of Exercise Professionals (REP)


Register of Exercise Professionals (REP)

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Launched in 2002, the REP now regulates over 20,000 health and fitness instructors. It is also the largest independently run, public registers for UK professionals working the health and fitness industry. The REP belongs to the International Confederation of Registers of Exercise Professionals (ICREPs) as well. 

What does the REP’s active memberships in ICREPs mean for you? Essentially, it means that if you are a PT in the UK who registers with the REP and you travel to one of the 9 other ICREPs member countries (listed below) your membership and professional qualifications will still be recognised. If you plan to travel to these countries this could prove to be a great asset to your personal training business.


ICREPs Member Countries

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • South Africa
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America


Membership costs for the REP are also reasonably priced at £40 (including VAT) per year. 

You can learn more about the REP here.


National Register of Personal Trainers (NRPT)


National Register of Personal Trainers

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Like the REP, the NRPT is also an independent organisation which oversees the merits of its member personal trainers who reside in the UK. It was founded in 1991 and is also backed by the REP as well as the London Central YMCA and the National Sports Medicine Institute.

In order to join the NRPT, a personal trainer must have obtained their Level 3 personal training certification, and valid insurance, in addition to the appropriate First Aid Certificates. 

When joining the NRPT you also join a community that’s committed to helping you succeed with your personal training business. As a member of the NRPT, you can receive discounts on fitness products, gym equipment, and other health-related products.

The current annual cost to join the NRPT is £110 (including VAT). 

You can learn more about the NRPT here.


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5. Create a Personal Training Business Plan

Once you have all of your certifications, and you’ve joined the REP or NRPT, it’s time to start planning out your business. As a Level 3 certified personal trainer with a First Aid certificate, you have the qualifications you need to start training your own clients, but you might be wondering where to start.

Before you head out to go find clients it is a good idea to create a business plan first. Take a look below, to see some of the top things you need to consider to create a personal training business plan.


Your Schedule


Scheduling How to Become a PT

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When it comes to running your business, your schedule is one of the key first steps. After all, if you don’t have a clear idea of when you are free to train clients you won’t be able to start achieving the rest of your goals.

So before anything else, sort out what your availability looks like. If you’re currently working as a gym instructor during the day and looking to start growing your business after your day job, make note of this in your schedule. Set clear hours for yourself so you have a firm idea of when you are available for training sessions. 

If you are already running a self-employed business then you may have more flexibility for training sessions throughout the day.

In either case, as you begin to book clients make sure to note down their training sessions in your calendar. Keeping track of coaching sessions in a notebook will ensure you always show up in a timely manner to train clients. 

Don’t forget to plan out some time for yourself too! When you are well-rested and have the proper nutrition you’ll be able to provide your clients with the highest quality training sessions that will keep them coming back.


Personal Training Rates

Next, you need to settle on an hourly rate or a package rate for multiple sessions. Keep in mind that when you’re starting out and building your client base you may want to be more flexible with your rates.


How Much do Personal Trainers Make?

The National Career Services notes that self-employed personal trainers often charge between £20-£40 per hour and in certain cases with experience and high-profile clients you could earn around £50 to £100 per hour. The average personal trainer’s salary for new trainers is then around £14,000 to £16,000 per year. Then, more experienced trainers have a yearly salary that is approximately £17,000 to £22,000.

On Bidvine the average hourly rate charged by personal trainers is £36. However, as a Bidvine personal trainer, you have the complete flexibility to choose your own rate.


How Much do Personal Trainers Make?

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Keep in mind that how much you can expect to earn as a personal trainer may change over time. It may change based on your work experience, whether you work for a gym or as a sole trader and how many clients you have the availability to see. All of these factors can influence the rates you charge as a personal trainer.


Where You Prefer to Train Clients


Training Clients Outdoors

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Then, it’s also important to decide on where you plan to train clients. Generally personal trainers coach clients at a gym, outdoors in a park, or at the client’s home. Where you choose to train your clients is entirely up to you.

You may even choose to train clients in a combination of places. Perhaps one day you’ll focus on training a client at their home, then on another day, if the weather is nice, a local park could make for an inspiring training session.


6. Start Finding Clients

Now that you’re all clear on your schedule, your rates, and where you prefer to train clients it’s time to start finding clients so you can get your business off the ground! 

There are a few different ways you can go about finding clients for your personal training business. You may wish to start working at a gym or you might prefer to start a business of your own. Then again you may choose to work part-time at a gym while you build your business.

If you do plan to work at a gym, keep in mind that some gyms do charge their personal trainers rent, in order to work out of the gym’s space. This is entirely dependent on the gym itself. Always be sure to ask for clarification on this when you are applying to a gym. That way you will have the knowledge you need to find the best for your personal training career. 

Gyms which charge their personal trainers rent:

Gyms which don’t charge their personal trainers rent:


Personal Training

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If you’re planning to run your own personal training business, Bidvine is a good option for connecting with customers in your area. With Bidvine you have complete flexibility to choose when you work and which clients you take on.

It’s completely free to sign-up, you won’t be charged a subscription fee or commission on the jobs that you get hired for. You only pay a small fee when you want to bid on a job and it’s totally free to pass on a lead.

Are you considering starting a personal training business of your own? Then, check out these Success Stories from UK personal trainers just like you for advice on how to get started!


Personal Training Success Stories


7. Get Further Qualifications

Once you have your essential personal training qualifications there are still plenty of opportunities to learn and expand your skill set. Keeping your skills up to date can also help to keep you at the top of your game when it comes to building your business. New skills mean new opportunities to grow and expand your business.

Some of the additional qualifications which you may wish to pursue in addition to the essential personal training qualifications include nutrition, yoga, pilates, aqua fitness, sports massage, and specialist courses for training certain age groups.


Nutrition


Nutrition

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Advising clients on nutrition is often a routine part of the job for personal trainers. After all, your clients will need the right fuel in their body to reach their healthy living goals.

A nutrition course can help set you apart. That way you can confidently provide clients with the nutrition advice they need to successfully approach their training routine.


Yoga

Many personal trainers also choose to study yoga. If you choose this route you will be able to teach not only personal training clients but also clients seeking to study yoga either in a group or one-to-one.


Pilates


Pilates

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With Pilates training you can add to your personal training sessions by teaching clients how to move through Pilates poses in a safe and effective manner.

You can also learn how to create an effective flow of Pilates poses, so that you can teach a solid routine, whether for a group or one-to-one clients.


Aqua Fitness

Do you love the water? Then, why not learn how to instruct an aqua fitness class?! When teaching an aqua aerobics or aqua fitness class you’ll be able to provide clients with an effective way to workout that is also gentle on their joints.


Sports Massage


Sports Massage

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Learning professional techniques for a sports massage can prove to be an asset as a personal trainer. This is especially true if you’d like to train athletes.

With a sports massage certificate not only will you able to help athletes reach their sports performance goals, but you’ll also be able to help them treat any sports-related muscle aches as well.


Age-Specific Training Techniques

Learning age-specific training techniques can be particularly beneficial if you enjoy working with seniors or children. Both of these age groups have unique health and fitness considerations. So by learning how to train particular age groups, you’ll be able to share your healthy living knowledge with a wider array of clients.


Summary

That’s it! With these top 7 tips on how to become a personal trainer and the passion to pursue your dreams, you’ll soon be well on your way to achieving your career goals. The best part is that as a personal trainer, you’ll be able to make a difference in others’ lives! Not to mention that each day will provide new opportunities to learn, and impact others. 

There’s always something new when you’re a personal trainer. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start putting your goals into action today!

Ready to start finding new clients and grow your personal training business? Click here to join Bidvine today!


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